Sustainable development aims at maintaining equilibrium between human needs and environmental conservation through efficient use of natural resources. The space technology provide ways and means for the mankind to understand and develop the local and global environments, to measure, map and monitor the changes in these environments. and to supply geo-spatial information to decision-makers for their use in evaluation of available options. The geographic information system (GIS) has been developed as a powerful tool for natural resource management, as it plays an important role in decision-making through the use of both spatial and attribute data. It is the technology used for natural resource management at the different institutions in Sri Lanka at present.
The Survey Department being the national surveying and mapping organization that provides geo-spatial data to other institutions for their own GISs. The aim of this paper is to discuss the present role of the Survey Department in providing geo-spatial data for natural resource management and to address the key issues that relate to the data standards within GIS context.